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HomeNewsOpinion: PoCo Mayor West is right, China doesn’t belong at convention for local government officials

Opinion: PoCo Mayor West is right, China doesn’t belong at convention for local government officials


Florence Mo Han Aw

Port Coquitlam city council voted unanimously to support Mayor Brad West’s efforts to stop the Union of B.C. Municipalities’ continual acceptance of the $6,000 sponsorship of the meeting by Vancouver’s Chinese consulate, and to host a “meeting and greeting” cocktail party during the convention on Sept. 25.

Scene from the 2017 UBCM party sponsored by China (Mackin)

West indicates that with Canada’s current tension over diplomacy and trade, as well as China’s atrocious human rights record, it would not be appropriate for Canadian politicians to take part in such exchanges, and that UBCM should maintain a discreet distance with the Chinese government. However, UBCM chair Arjun Singh states that the Chinese consulate-sponsored reception is to take place as scheduled.

As a citizen of Canada, I support Mayor West’s decision, for the following reasons.

Canada is a nation that operates on democratic principles, and lives by the principles of democracy, freedom, equality and the rule of law. China is one-party dictatorship that operates on principles contrary to universally accepted values. Activities hosted by the Canadian government should not accept sponsorship by governments that have opposing values.

Because of worsening relationship between Canada and China over the Meng Wanzhou (Huawei) incident, China has now illegally detained three Canadian citizens, British Columbia politicians should maintain a stance that maintains the dignity of our country, and decline to participate in such activities sponsored by the Chinese government.

The Chinese government’s $6,000 sponsorship of the aforementioned event, is part of the Chinese Communist Party’s United Front (“Tong Zhan”) tactic. This tactic operates upon cultivating friendly voices, exchanges and contacts, sponsoring events, offering special interest, as well as providing funding to host foreign government officials, all in order to “soften” the will of such politicians, so that they would abandon their own principles and aid in any exchange with China. Canadian officials and politicians must understand that this is a political trap, and refuse to be a party to China’s United Front activities.

I am heartened by Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s decision not to participate in the aforementioned reception. I sincerely hope that many of UBCM, the mayors and council members of our municipalities would understand the real situation and motives of China, and turn down the $6,000 sponsorship.

  • Florence Mo Han Aw is the author of the 2012 memoir, My Time in Hong Kong’s Underground Communist Party.

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